Ameritech Markets Privacy Manager to Business Customers

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Ameritech's Privacy Manager product, launched to help consumers screen out unwanted calls, is now being promoted to businesses.

The service normally costs $3.95 per month and $4.95 in Illinois, however business customers will receive a waiver of the service order charge through Dec. 31 as part of a special introductory offer.

"Our research shows that unwanted sales calls or telemarketing calls are intrusive to a business," said Karen Vessely, president of general business services for Ameritech, Chicago. "Thanks to Ameritech Privacy Manager, our business customers can focus on their customers, and important calls still get through."

The service is used in connection with Caller ID with Name and interrupts calls identified on Caller ID as private, blocked, out of area, unavailable or unknown. When calls are interrupted callers are asked to identify themselves, and the receiving party may then either accept the call, reject it, or play a recorded message that states telemarketing calls are not accepted and requests inclusion on the company's do not call list.

In seven out of 10 intercepted calls, the caller hangs up without providing identification.

Fourteen months after its introduction in Chicago and Denver, the service has expanded to six other metropolitan areas in the Midwest.

Since its introduction, several other telcos have launched similar call-screening tools, the latest of which, Privacy Director, was introduced in the Atlanta area by BellSouth Corp. on Oct. 28.

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